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Old 28-09-10, 10:46 PM
Who? Who? is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2010
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If anyone is interested, I have found a way to transfer my existing Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit installation from a single drive to a 2 drive RAID 0 array without having to re-install the OS or resort to hacking/special software etc.

After plenty of Googling I got the impression that it was not possible and/or required additional software (other than backup software) to perform.

The disclaimer is that it worked for my system but may not work for all systems. My system comprises the following:

Gigabyte GA-890GPA-UD3H motherboard with on board SB850 RAID controller

Dual WD 1TB black edition HDD's

Hard disk split into 3 primary (100MB hidden, C: system drive, D: data drive) and a logical partition

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

Windows Home Server for the backup/restore process

The process is as follows:

-1. Backup the whole disk. I used my Windows Home Server to back up the 3 primary partitions and just file copied the logical partition.

0. Unplug the single disk currently installed, connect the new drive and test the restore from the backup on the nice new shiny 2nd drive you have got. THIS IS NOT NECESSARY FOR RISK TAKERS AND THRILL SEEKERS! For me being generally paranoid, I want to make sure I can get back to where I started if it all turns pear shaped.

1. Power off the PC.

2. My RAID controller allows me to have SATA 3 ports 0/1/2/3 set up differently from ports 4/5. I reconnected the original boot drive to port 4 of the RAID controller and set it in the BIOS to IDE mode.

3. Connect the shiny new drive to port 1 of the RAID controller. If you have used the drive to previously test the restore process, make sure you delete the partitions and/or make the drive such that it won't boot.

4. Power up the PC and go straight into the BIOS. Set the 0/1/2/3 ports to RAID. Save and reboot.

5. Allow Windows to reboot as per normal. It should now find the new controller and drive and install the drivers for it. This requires that you have the drivers available. Make sure that you have the motherboard driver CD available just in case. This is actually the most critical step as this allows Windows 7 to boot when you restore to the RAID array.

6. Windows will prompt you to reboot. Do the reboot and it may find and configure some more drivers like mine did.

7. Copy the RAID drivers and any other drivers (I needed my network card drivers) for the restore process to a USB drive.

8. Do another backup to make sure that the backup contains the new drivers.

9. This step will vary depending on the backup method you used and what motherboard/controller you use. For me, I rebooted the PC and when the RAID BIOS/config screen showed after POST I pressed <ctrl-F> to enter the RAID controller setup menu. I configured the RAID setup to a 2 disk RAID 0 configuration. WARNING: YOUR ORIGINAL DRIVE CONTENTS WILL NOW BE GONE FOREVER SO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE EITHER DONE STEP 0 OR ENJOY THE ADRENALINE RUSH FROM KNOWING THAT YOU HAVE TO START ALL OVER AGAIN WITH A NEW INSTALL!

10. Reboot the PC and restore the drive contents using whichever backup mechanism you have chosen onto the new RAID array.

11. When the PC has finished the restoration process, a reboot will be required to load the restored Windows 7 installation.

12. On my PC, the first boot and login worked all ok and the PC loaded/configured the RAID 0 driver.

13. Reboot the PC and it should all be done!

For me with the WD black edition drives I went from 124MBs/121MBs to 245MBs/224MBs (Read/Write) using SSD benchmark. I can post the actual benchmarks if people are interested.

The key things here are that the Windows 7 installation does NOT load the ACHI/RAID drivers as standard so restoring the installation from backup fails at the Windows logo screen as the ACHI/RAID driver is not installed. By putting the main drive onto a different IDE mode controller and adding the second drive on the RAID controller, you 'introduce' Windows to the new controller configuration and it loads the appropriate drivers. I have had to learn this the hard way so hopefully the instructions above will help someone save a number of hours of frustration!

As far as the RAID 0 flame war about you have twice the chance of failure and the whole thing is a waste of time, I couldn't really care as the drives are backed up daily anyway and far as the performance goes, it seems great for large files and slightly better for small files. While still not as good as an SSD especially for small files, it's not a bad compromise between speed/storage capacity/cost.

Enjoy!

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  #2  
Old 08-11-11, 09:59 PM
ALSORAN ALSORAN is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2011
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Hi

Apologies for adding to an old post but by happy coincedence I have virtually the same config and had the identical problem. If you're out there, thank you very much for your help, the technique you described so well worked a treat for me and I am now working on my raid one 1Tb system. The backup software I used was EaseUS Todo Backup Free 3.5, just a brilliant bit of software. You made my day!
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